Monthly Archives: June 2014

What’s in Helen’s Cupboard?

I so so love looking through your cupboards, it is so nice to feel that you’re not alone – to see that other people make constant conscious decisions about what to keep as great cupboard stand-bys. Come and join in, show us your kitchen cupboards – share your best recommendations with us!

Next up on ‘in your cupboard’, we take a look through Helen’s cupboards. I’ve known Helen, online, for a good few years now – not only is she super talented at cakes and sugar flowers (Helen made some gorgeous sugar poppies for my daughter’s naming day cake), but she also blogs over at everydaybride. I’ll hand over to Helen now, so she can guide you through her cupboard & her recommendations for your next shopping trip!

Well, here it is! It’s a bit of a mish-mash in there to be honest. You’ll spot a large jar of Nutella – I hate it but my boys love it on toast! There’s also a selection of pasta, rice, bread sticks, chocolate chip brioche and wraps in there. With three growing sons we go through a LOT of carbohydrate based food! helen

The last few months have led me to reassess what we eat as a family. I’ve discovered a couple of new food based triggers for my asthma so there’s an added incentive to change how we eat. In an attempt to lose weight I don’t want my boys to see a mum who’s always on a diet. I’ve done Weightwatchers and Slimming World before and although they produced results, I was miserable the whole time! I want to change small things that will help me be healthier.

I still have weight to lose after having my third son last year, but currently I’m running twice and doing two karate classes a week and you can’t do that on an empty stomach! I’ve been searching for changes that fit in with that and a busy family life. I’ve struggled with anemia and asthma flare ups since Christmas and with them both finally under control it’s about making changes to help prevent them returning.

So my cupboard contains lots of herbs and spices and tins of tomatoes. I make a lot of slow cooker food. It’s my secret weapon! Casseroles, stews, curry, pasta sauce, all sorts of things. It’s great to know by 10am that dinner is organised and it prevents the last minute give up and order takeaway! Also the boys can eat as and when they’re hungry meaning I can eat with my husband when he’s home from work. I know exactly what’s in the meal and I can sneak veg in there too! I’m changing other things as well so there’s a bag of wholemeal pasta in there and the wraps are half and half ones in an attempt to get away from the ‘white’ versions. Let’s see if they notice!

This week a box of Nakd bars went in my shopping trolley after seeing them on this blog. It’s a change away from a Kitkat so hopefully they’ll be good and give me a boost! I struggle most in the day after the school run when the boys are eating everything in sight! That’s a real test of will-power.

I think my main recommendation is fizzy water! I drink a lot of it. Not the fancy stuff, just own brand but I think a lot of the time I’m thirsty and not hungry. And I cannot get away from sugar in my tea, so if I don’t drink it I don’t have the extra sugar! Oh but the lemon olive oil is good too – makes boiled new potatoes a fabulous treat with a teaspoon drizzled over them.

I’m trying small changes here. A big drink of water when I feel hungry. A step towards more wholegrain. More and more homecooked food. Sneaking veg into everything. A handful of salad with lunch. A peach instead of a biscuit. Less tea. And then a Nakd bar when I’m desperate.

I hope it works!

This is fab, Helen, thanks so much for sharing. A totally sensible approach to food and nutrition – I think that Helen has the key here – little changes, nothing too drastic, no fixed ‘diet’ as it were. So important not to pass ‘food fears’ on to little guys (and girls). Haha, I’m sure that eveyone has a jar of nutella – I can’t stick it either, but there are two other hungry mouths in my house that seem to love it – gimme marmite any day!
I also love the way that Helen is trying to use diet to help control some health issues like asthma, I think that this is really important too.

Big thumbs up on the running and karate!

What do you guys think about Helen’s cupboard? Leave a comment below, or catch me on twitter or facebook – don’t forget to go check out Helen’s blog too!

Want to join in & show us your cupboard? Drop me a contact form (on the about page), or mail me at: info@cherrypielane.co.uk and I’ll get you linked up!

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Race for Life – 5K of pink

Had you told me in January that I would be running a 5k race for life in June, I’d have laughed at you and shaken my head. I’m not a runner, I don’t do any distance running…

photo 3 (2)Since maybe March-time, I’ve been attempting to be able to run a 5K race. Up until 2 days before the race, the longest I had ever run for was a 4minute burst, using the race for life training plan.

The Friday before race day, I decided to shove myself out the door, abandoning the interval jogging scheme & just see how long I could run for without stopping. I was hoping to be able to run for 5k, but to be honest, I didn’t really expect to be able to go for longer than the 4 minutes I had achieved previously.

I managed just over 5K, non-stop in 39:42 – not bad, for a non-running tortoise!

On race day (Sunday 15th June), I headed down to the park – we (my sister & I) were running the Hastings race for life, around Alexandra Park – a beautiful place to run, gorgeous rose gardens, lovely trees. We met up with one of my sister’s work-mates & joined the sea of pink to start the run.

Parts of the run were very busy, so there were patches when we had to walk a bit, but as the race progressed, it thinned out a bit, so it was easier to move around and keep going.

I’m not gonna lie, the last km was TOUGH! I was definitely slowing down, but still going  – we went in for a nice sprint finish at the end & scored a time of 35:57! Pretty good for only my second ever 5k run!

At the end of the race, we were given a bottle of water, a medal & a chocolate chip brioche (the last of the two were very quickly adopted by my little lady, who had been waving at me from the sidelines at various race points.

So, would I do it again? Yup. Was it hard? Oh yes. Would I recommend running it? Definitely. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can (& you get to feel smug for the rest of the day & eat lots of food!).

Fancy dropping us a sponsor for our hard work and helping us to kick cancer’s butt? Well, that would be just amazing, thanks! Our just giving page is here:

http://www.justgiving.com/jolly-joggers750

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What’s in Halina’s Cupboard?

*hangs head in shame* I know, I know, this post should have been up on Tuesday, but the Fathers’ Day orders have been keeping me chained to the Cherry Pie Lane desk for most of the week!

Anywho, here we are, better late than never & this week’s post is awesome. The cupboard we are going to rummage through this week belongs to Halina, who has her own food blog at kitchenchoufleur.

I’ll hand you over to Halina to explain the contents of her cupboard and what she absolutely cannot live without:

halina

So I have included for you a photo of not just my main ingredients cupboard, but the surrounding area as well. I have too many herbs, spices, and various other ingredients/tins/crap to fit in just one easily-accessible cupboard.
I’m currently trying to lose a lot of weight for my wedding in December, so eating and cooking to a Slimming World-friendly plan is a big part of that. However, I have always cooked from fresh and enjoyed creating and exploring new recipes, hence the over-abundance of jars, pots and packets etc. My “every-day” herbs and spices are kept in the rolling spice rack you can see on the side, and the cupboard houses the more rarely-used, but also incredibly important items.
My Must-Haves include:
  • Oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, cumin, paprika, chilli powder – the basic everyday herbs & spices that go into almost everything I cook
  • FryLight – a low-fat diet unfortunately means very little oil, however this stuff is a brilliant substitute
  • Truvia – a sweetener that isn’t a disgustingly fake pot full of Evil, instead being made from a plant. Only the tiniest amount is needed to give a lovely sweet taste to any food.
  • Strong wholemeal flour – I make all my own bread, both white (for the toddler) and wholemeal. It’s SO much tastier and fills my house with that gorgeous fresh bread smell.
  • Stock cubes – the way to get anything to taste good. Anything. I promise.
  • Worcester sauce – the best way to add depth and body to any meal. Plus it’s gorgeous on cheese on toast.
My Favourites (as well as all of the above):
  • Saffron – this stuff is expensive, but one little jar from the supermarket can last so, so long. I bought mine over one year ago and there is still a tiny bit left. A small pinch gives the most delicious honeyed flavour to anything, and is especially good in tagines and stews.
  • Rajah (other brands are available!) packet spices – these can be found in supermarkets the same as the tiny jars of spices, but are ridiculously cheaper for a far larger amount. I make a lot of curries, all low in fat, and these are the best thing ever for that purpose.
  • Passata – I bloody love passata. I buy these cheapie cardboard boxes of it from Aldi. They last ages, they make amazing sauces without fail, and they can be used for anything. For example, I often make a weekend breakfast of spring onions, chillies, red peppers, ham and cherry tomatoes, all finely diced and scrambled with eggs and a few tablespoons of passata. Delicious.

Looking at the above, none of it seems particularly original or like a wonder-product…it’s all just simple, honest, delicious stuff that makes simple, honest, delicious food, from scratch, to low-fat requirements. These are the basic gists of my blog, really, along with budgeting, meal-planning, and slow cooking.

Thanks so much for sharing your cupboard with us Halina – what a great stash of kitchen essentials. Massive hats off to you for making all your own bread, I LOVE that smell! I totally agree with the little cartons of passata, I get through heaps of those too! There are a few things in thsi cupboard that I’ve never tried, like Frylight & Truvia – I’ve also not tried any of the slimming world plans, but I know lots of people that have had massive success using them.

What do you guys think about Halina’s cupboard? Go and check out her blog too for loads of great recipes and ideas on budgeting your meals.

Are you in to healthy eating and or fitness? Trying to lose weight? Do you have anything hiding in your kitchen cupboards that you’d like to share? Drop me a message though the ‘about’ page or mail me at: info@cherrypielane.co.uk & I’ll get your cupboards linked up!

 

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Raspberry and Vanilla Overnight Chia Oats

For those who like their morning oats…

photo 1 (4)If you like porridge, but don’t seem to have the time to make it in the morning, then these overnight chia oats might be just up your street.

They take about 60seconds to put together, but like to hang out in your fridge overnight. Make them in a bento box so you can grab them on your way out the door.

The added bonus to these overnight oats, is that they also have the addition of chia seeds – a great source of protein and a tummy filler too.

The flavour combo that I have chosen and given you the recipe for is raspberry and vanilla, but you know, you could easily substitute with blueberries, apple, strawberries – anything really!

I made these oats deliberately not-too-sweet, as I always figure that you can add honey or agave plus sweeter fruits in the morning – feel free to add more honey than the recipe states if you like things a bit sweeter.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raspberries, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup skimmed milk (feel free to use a vegan alternative here)
  • 1/2 tbsp raw honey (or more if you like it sweet)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method:

  • Chuck it all in a bowl, give it a mix.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Scoop in to one big bowl or 2 smaller bowls in the morning.

Approximate Nutrition Info (based on 2 smaller servings):

  • KCals – 216
  • Fat – 4.4g (0.3g sat)
  • Sodium – 57.8mg
  • Carbs – 33.9g
  • Protein – 10.9g

Feel free to top your overnight chia oats with more raspberries, or other fruit ( I used half a banana) and more honey or syrup, if required.

photo 4 (2)Go on, give it a go & let me know what you think of the recipe. Which flavours will you add to yours?

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Fitbit Flex – My Fitness Guardian

This little dude never lets me sit on my ass (well, most of the time…)

photo 3 (2)If I’m totally honest with you, I bought this on a bit of a whim. ‘This’ is my fitbit flex. I’d seen them plastered about all over social media & I wanted to find out what the big deal was. I did a bit of research, read a few reviews, asked a few people if they were worth getting &, really, almost everyone I know that has one said it was awesome. Right, gotta get me one!

When the little guy arrived in the post, I jumped up and down a bit with excitement & ripped open the box to get it set up. The flex comes with a large and a small wrist band, in a variety of colours – I’m a sucker for blue, so this petrol-blue kinda colour got my vote. I found that I needed the smaller band, so got it charged up, set up and downloaded all the software and apps. The band adjusts too, so I’m finding that, as I lose weight, I need to tighten it.

photo 4If you use myfitnesspal, good news, this syncs automatically to it via a bluetooth connection, so it will automatically deduct calories as I move.

So, anyway… what IS a fitbit flex? On paper, it is kind of a very fancy pedometer (but much more). It senses steps; the number of steps & the intensity of the steps. It knows, for example, if I am running, or dawdling & it will colour code your steps in either red, yellow or green based on the intensity of the activity. It also tracks distance, calories burned & sleep (this is a bit scary if you are a parent of a non-sleeping child!!). This information is all based on your own stats too, so it is tailored to just yourself.

photo 1

On the flex wristband, you can tap it during the day to see how close you are to hitting your target. You can set which target you’d like it to display, mine was initially set up with steps, but I changed it to calories. Once you hit your target, you get a little vibration and some dancing lights – honestly, I’m like a small child getting a pat on the back when that happens *cue proud face*.

In order to get the fitbit to track your sleep, you tap in repeatedly and set it in to sleep mode, then just tap repeatedly again in the morning, once you have woken – then check out what the app shows. Nine times out of ten, I forget to set it, so you can manually add the info the next day on your phone or computer – or not, if you’re not bothered!

The one slightly annoying thing about the sleep mode, is that if you are doing anything that involves short, sharp vibration going through your wrist e.g. pushing a shopping trolly across a carpark, it tends to put it in to sleep mode, but you can just undo it again, it usually won’t count it if you are still moving, if it does, you can manually delete the record later.

You can either have your fitbit account set as private, or you can link it with your friends. I have my sister linked with mine, so you get a bit of extra motivation by trying to beat each other each day. This acts a little bit like a silent, wrist-based, emotional fatness bully! It is a little voice telling me to get of my butt and move it (ESPECIALLY if my sister takes the lead!).

Fitbit have got a variety of different products on offer, the flex sits on your wrist & can be worn all the time, even in the shower, so I chose that for convenience. I know a few people that have the fitbit one, which can be worn on clothes – though I personally would probably forget to put it on every day (scatterbrain!). One of my friends has got the fitbit scales, which automatically sync with other apps and devices too – these are SO going on my Christmas list!

So, there are heaps of advantages to having a fitbit. I’d say, that if you are serious about getting moving, tracking your activity, then get one. If you think you might be having a bit of a fitness or diet fad, then, I’d look out for something a bit cheaper as it is a little bit of an investment at around £80. However, by making the decision to spend the money, it does make you more aware of it & encourage you to stick to a plan.

If you are set on buying one, but stuck making a decision between a fitbit flex, or a fitbit one, just remember that a flex will pretty much always be with you, where as a one tends to get taken off more often. The flex, being a wristband, picks up a little less motion if you are doing an activity like cycling, or, as I found out, if you are walking pushing a buggy, as your wrist remains more still. The one, can be worn on clothing, so can be attached to a hip pocket or waist band, so I think tends to be a little more aware of leg movement. If you’re anything like me, however, you’ll base your choice on ease of use & what it looks like – the band won out for me!

Have you got a fitbit product? How do you find it?

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What’s Hiding in Lisa’s Food Cupboard?!

Here we have our first guest on our ‘In Your Cupboard’ section – where we take a nosey through the cupboards of the food-obsessed & awesome.

Today, I introduce to you, Lisa Long from More than Words. I got to know Lisa through our businesses & have met up with her at a couple of business conferences/meet ups/workshops. Not only is Lisa absolutely lovely, friendly and super helpful, she also looks amazing – here’s hoping that her cupboards hold the secret to looking good!

I’ll pass you over to Lisa now & see what she loves and recommends:

I love to try to stick to a non-processed, clean diet.  Obviously I have slip ups but as long as I stick to the 80/20 rule I’m happy with that.  I love fresh juices which I make as often as I can…we also have our own chickens so have an abundance of essential eggs!

lisa5lisa3At the moment I’m actually giving the 5:2 diet a go…more for the health benefits and to shift the last of the winter pounds.  500 calories two days a week then clean eating for the rest of the week.  Weekends I do have the odd drink and take away 😉 I work out 3 times a week, either running 5-6K or a fitness video such as Jillian Michaels (my favourite).  I’ve taken a break from the gym as I find it easier to juggle running my own business, two young boys and a workout if I do quick bursts from home or outside.

lisa2lisa4lisa

Wow, thanks Lisa, what an awesome selection of cupboard staples! A totally healthy way to approach a sensible diet with the 80/20 rule – by not absolutely denying yourself certain foods or drinks, you are much more likely to be able to stick with a plan, also, not beating yourself up about a few drinks or a takeaway is good too. Good nutrition is a lifelong plan, not a quick fix. Everything in moderation! I totally get the flexible exercising rather than hitting the gym – I do this too, so I can work it around everything. I’ve not tried the 5:2 diet yet, but have seen lots of people giving it a go recently & it really seems to work for them. Have any of you tried it out yet? How do you find it?

Are you food, nutrition, diet and fitness obsessed? Would you like to share your cupboard with us? Drop me a message using the contact form on the ‘about‘ page, or mail me on: info {at} cherrypielane.co.uk.

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